Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured
We now run, in parallel, a restoration project in a boatyard and a boat-building School in Limerick city. The School supports the restoration but also runs it own educational programmes.
The School has seen a growth in agencies referring participants – schools, charities and State agencies. Since 2009, we have achieved a steady throughput of 5-6 participants each working day for 3 hours (plus a 3 hour preparation period for each session). 80% of participants are aged 13-16 years, the remainder are adults. For the time being, most are male. We have not yet been able to attract the interest of young females in the practical activity of boat-building where we believe anyone with a precise eye and natural deftness of touch would find an accessible medium for their imagination.
The restoration project has attracted approximately 40 adults, ranging from undergraduates to older people, who return regularly to assist. In contrast with the School, volunteers are both male and female in roughly equal proportions.
Qualitatively, the School is the first safe space in which many of our participants can understand their potential. But it also attracts those who have already realised theirs: engineers from Limerick University have asked to be involved in designing the sails.
How will your project evolve over the next three years?
• double participation in the School by relocating to a larger workshop
• bring the Chief Instructor of the US North West Wooden Boat Building School to spend two months with us to ‘train the trainers’
• appoint a second permanent instructor
• use role models from the restoration project to introduce young females to our work
• open a second School in Ireland
• explore the role of digital technology between the two Schools before developing a similar link with the restoration project planned with Jamaica
• develop sail training in wooden sailing ships and train 150 young people by 2015